Loads of Learned Lumber

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Anne Enright, _The Gathering_

LIKE REMAINDER, THIS one won a prize -- 2007 Man Booker.  A story of childhood  catastrophe/trauma that crucially shapes the protagonist's adult life, leading to strain in her marriage, concealment and resentment among her family, a brother's suicide.  

Does it seem an awful lot of Booker winners have a theme like this?  The Inheritance of Loss, The Sea, The God of Small Things, all involved long-term effects of some disaster in someone's childhood.  Atonement -- wait, that one didn't win.  How did that happen?

Anyway, I enjoyed the narrator's voice in The Gathering -- had that cutting Irish humor that spares nothing and no one, not even the narrator herself -- and things came together in a moving yet mostly believable way at the end.  It was something of a downer, though, a long gray day of a novel that seems endless.  I'm in no hurry to pick up another Enright.

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